A woman in California is suing after her goat was allegedly barbecued.
Jessica Long purchased Cedar, the beloved pet goat, in April 2022 for her 9-year-old daughter, who cared for the farm animal every day, reported the Sacramento Bee.
After deciding to enter Cedar into the Shasta District Fair’s livestock auction, the daughter desperately wanted him back, leading Long to steal the goat.
In the process, it prompted a frenzy involving local officials and sent sheriffs on a 200-mile wild goose chase — make that goat chase — to find and retrieve the precious pet.
But Long’s attorney called the events an “abuse of power” and a “sham.”
Long is now suing the Shasta sheriff’s officials, Shasta County, the Shasta District Fair and other defendants they believe are involved and is asking for actual, general and punitive damages, according to court documents obtained by the Sacramento Bee.
“What happened here is an abuse of power, and an incredible waste of taxpayer resources,” Vanessa Shakib, Long’s lawyer, told The Post in an emailed statement. “Government officials escalated a purely civil dispute into a sham criminal pursuit.”
The lawsuit was originally filed in August 2022 but amended in March of this year.
“Police officers improperly declared themselves judge and jury, and disposed of a little girl’s family pet in violation of her Due Process rights,” Shakib continued to The Post. “Officials in the State of California surely have more pressing matters to attend to than a publicly-funded 500-mile joyride to illegally seize a little girl’s goat.”
When contacted by The Post, the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office responded simply: “Unfortunately, due to pending litigation we are unable to comment.”
The family entered their pet goat, Cedar, into the state fair, but quickly changed their minds about selling it at auction.
In June of last year, Long decided to enter Cedar into the Shasta District Fair’s junior livestock auction — which sells animals solely for use as meat.
The fair’s brochure strictly states that there are “no exceptions.”
Long’s lawyer called Cedar’s retrieval an “abuse of power” by California officials.
Advancing Law for Animals
On June 25, Cedar was sold to a representative of California State Senator Brian Dahle for a whopping $902, according to The Sacramento Bee, of which $63.14 was supposed to go to the state fair and $838.86 to the goat’s owners.
However, Long’s daughter — who “loved” the animal “as a family pet,” the suit claimed — was reportedly crushed about the goat’s fate.
So Long resorted to a drastic measure — and took back Cedar.
“It was heartbreaking,” Long wrote in a June 27 email explaining her decision to the Shasta District Fair, obtained by The Sacramento Bee. “The barn was mostly empty and at the last minute I decided to break the rules and take the goat that night and deal with the consequences later.”
The mom said that she had contacted Dahle, who didn’t seem to mind that she wanted to save the goat from slaughter, and Long offered to pay the parties back for the animal and any expenses.
But the state fair and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CFDA) still demanded the mother return Cedar, with the fair’s chief executive officer reportedly emailing her that the decision was meant to teach “our youth responsibility.”
‘I decided to break the rules and take the goat that night and deal with the consequences later.’
“Making an exception for you will only teach out [sic] youth that they do not have to abide by the rules that are set up for all participants,” they added.
The CFDA also told the fair’s CEO that they had to stick to the rules of the state fair.
The Sacramento Bee reported that the CEO then sent an email to a CFDA official, claiming that an organizer of the local community barbecue “has contacted her lawyers regarding the theft of the goat donated to the bbq.”
A livestock manager of the Shasta District Fair had already started texting Long, reportedly warning that there would be “serious consequences” if she didn’t return Cedar to them — even threatening a felony count of grand theft.
Two weeks after Long had taken back the goat, a sheriff from Shasta County, Detective Jeremy Ashbee, filed a search warrant affidavit requesting permission to take Cedar.
A judge signed off on it, allowing the officers to “utilize breaching equipment to force open doorway(s), entry doors, exit doors, and locked containers in pursuit of their target” at Bleating Hearts Farm and Sanctuary in Napa, where Cedar was thought to be, the Bee reported.
However, Cedar was not there — instead, he was at an unnamed farm in Sonoma County where Long had sent the animal in order to avoid the slaughterhouse.
The sheriffs retrieved the goat from that animal rescue — allegedly with “no warrant to search and seize” Cedar at that specific facility — and drove him over 200 miles back to Shasta County, where he was handed off to unnamed fair personnel for “slaughter/destruction,” the lawsuit claimed.
It is believed that Cedar was then served up at a community barbecue after being slaughtered.
An online petition has been started in honor of Cedar, in hopes to raise awareness about the lawsuit, 36,000 people have signed.